insult
Pronunciation
  • Verb:
  • Noun:
    • (RP) enPR: ĭn'sŭlt, IPA: /ˈɪnsʌlt/
    • (GA) IPA: /ˈɪnˌsʌlt/

Verb

insult (insults, present participle insulting; past and past participle insulted)

  1. (transitive) To be insensitive, insolent, or rude to (somebody); to affront#Verb|affront or demean (someone). [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:offend
    Antonyms: compliment
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene v], page 199 ↗, column 2:
      And why I pray you? who might be your mother / That you inſult, exult, and all at once / Ouer the wretched?
    • 1609, Geo[rge] Chapman, Evthymiæ Raptus; or The Teares of Peace: […], London: Printed by H[umphrey] L[ownes] for Rich[ard] Bonian, and H. Walley: […], OCLC 222228174 ↗:
      The Foe hayles on thy head; and in thy Face / Inſults, and trenches; leaues thee, no worlds grace; / The walles, in which thou art beſieged, ſhake.
    • 1748, [Samuel Richardson], “Letter XLIX. Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace, Esq.”, in Clarissa. Or, The History of a Young Lady: […], volume III, London: Printed for S[amuel] Richardson; [a]nd sold by John Osborn, […]; [b]y Andrew Millar, […]; [b]y J[ohn] and J[ames] Rivington, […]; [a]nd by J. Leake, […], OCLC 13631815 ↗, page 242 ↗:
      Nor would ſuch a man as thou art be deterr'd, were I to remind thee of the vengeance which thou mayeſt one day expect, if thou inſulteſt a woman of her character, family, and fortune.
    • 1851 November 13, Herman Melville, “The Quadrant”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299 ↗, page 553 ↗:
      Thou canst not tell where one drop of water or one grain of sand will be to-morrow noon; and yet with thy impotence thou insultest the sun!
    • 1912, Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Second Visit to Smerdyakov”, in Constance Garnett, transl., The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue [...] From the Russian, London: William Heinemann, OCLC 5234211 ↗; republished New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, 1922, part IV, book XI (Ivan), page 667 ↗:
      It was a wordy, disconnected, frantic letter, a drunken letter in fact. It was like the talk of a drunken man, who, on his return home, begins with extraordinary heat telling his wife or one of his household how he has just been insulted, what a rascal has just insulted him, what a fine fellow he is on the other hand, and how he will pay that scoundrel out; [...]
  2. (transitive, also, figuratively, obsolete) To assail, assault#Verb|assault, or attack#Verb|attack; (specifically, military) to carry out an assault#Noun|assault, attack#Noun|attack, or onset without preparation.
    • c. 1588–1593, William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii], lines 1518–1520, page 43 ↗, column 1:
      Giue me thy knife, I will inſult on him, / Flattering my ſelfes, as if it were the Moore, / Come hither purpoſely to poyſon me.
    • 1697, “The Third Book of the {{w”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432 ↗, lines 367–370, page 107 ↗:
      Not with more madneſs, rolling from afar, / The ſpumy Waves proclaim the watry War. / And mounting upwards, with a mighty Roar, / March onwards, and inſult the rocky ſhoar.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To behave in an obnoxious and superior#Adjective|superior manner (against or over someone). [16th–19th c.]
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 107”, in Shake-speares Sonnets. Neuer before Imprinted, London: By G[eorge] Eld for T[homas] T[horpe] and are to be sold by William Aspley, OCLC 216596634 ↗:
      Now with the drops of this moſt balmie time, / My loue lookes freſh, and death to me ſubſcribes, / Since spite#English|ſpight of him Ile liue in this poore time / While he inſults o'er#English|ore dull and ſpeachleſſe tribes.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Against Pouerty and Want, with Such Other Adversity”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗, partition 2, section 3, member 3, page 273 ↗:
      But be it ſo thou haſt loſt all, poore thou art deiected, in paine of body, griefe of mind, thine enimies inſult ouer thee, thou art as bad as Iob, yet tel me (ſaith Chryſoſtome [{{w
  4. (intransitive, obsolete, rare) To leap#Verb|leap or trample upon.
    • c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii], lines 389–392, page 150 ↗, column 2:
      So looks the pent-vp Lyon o're the Wretch, / That trembles vnder his deuouring Pawes: / And ſo he walkes, inſulting o're his Prey, / And ſo he comes, to rend his Limbes aſunder.
Conjugation